Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Trader Joe's Grainless Granola

Some of our longer tenured readers may recall me prattling on and on a couple years ago about the Paleo diet I was doing. Not really wanting to rehash it all in detail, so for the uninitiated, here's the TL;DR version: For years I was severely overweight before starting a exercise and Paleo diet regime that resulted in me losing 100 pounds. It's been nearly a year and a half since I hit that century mark, and I've kept but a small handful of those pounds off thus far. And while I don't follow a Paleo diet too strictly any more, I still dabble with it here and there when given the choice, and so it's still kinda part of my ongoing weight loss maintenance program.

It's somewhat late to the party, but here's Trader Joe's Grainless Granola. Kinda wonder what took TJ's so long. A couple years ago when being discontinued in local Targets, I bought every last sackful of Renola in the greater Pittsburgh region. So, I'm pretty familiar with these kinda caveman-friendly mixes of fruits, nuts and seeds, although I still can't figure out why they're referred to as a "granola."

It's a good mix overall...but a bit odd. There's no real crunch or crispiness or anything. Instead, it seems as if perhaps the moisture of the dates permeated the nuts (cashews and walnuts) and seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) so almost everything is a soft, slightly smushy, uniform texture. That's not necessary a bad thing, but it cuts down on the snacky factor of it, and could present issues for those wishing to sprinkle some on top of some yogurt or oatmeal. The dates and dried bananas seemed to clump a tad bit, too, so if that's not your thing, beware.

Also, you gotta like cinnamon. A lot. This stuff has a massive dose of cinnamon that'll smack your nostrils when the bag opens and be present in every bite. It's not enough to override any the individual components, thank goodness, because there's plenty of "as-is" natural flavor in the granola. There's also a small smattering of vanilla, but it's not as even or present as the cinnamon, which is fine.

A few small handfuls filled the hunger hole for a good amount of time. I kept a bag at my work desk for a few days and happily munched, and wasn't 'til I was throwing out the bag that I noticed that it said to keep refrigerated after opening....umm, why? Nothing perishable in there. Someone please explain.

Anyways, the sack cost $3.99 which is about right for a snack mix of this nature. You could probably make your own for a little less, but, well, convenience. It's what separates us from the cavemen.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Grainless Granola: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. A lot of dried fruits and jerky packaging lately has said "refrigerate after opening". Or, if you don't refrigerate, use within three days. I'm not sure if this is a new FDA regulation or something in the industry's best practices, but it's a thing now, and I was just as flummoxed as you when I first saw mention of it on a package.

  2. I'm definitely looking for this one!

  3. One reason for refrigerating is that the fats can go rancid surprisingly fast in the absence of preservatives. I had some dried cherries that I didn't know had gotten opened that went really bad fast. I thought I had gotten a bad batch or something until I noticed they have oil added to them and that's what went off.

    1. Filing under "learning something new" - thanks!

  4. I'm not "paleo" but was interested in this until i saw the banana.... What?!? Whyyyyy? I am firmly anti-banana, so i'll never buy it, but it really didn't look like granola but more like trail mix that was just small enough to scatter easily while trying to munch as a snack